At the recent economic development conference produced by Kansas Policy Institute, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo of Wichita explained how the process of political compromise has worked to increase spending. Political compromise of the type Pompeo explained is also called logrolling.
Pompeo told the audience that in his first 15 months in office, over 260 people came to his office to ask for something, a particular request. 85 percent of those requests came from Fortune 500 companies, our largest companies. Sometimes, he said, they brought along one of his constituents to help make the argument.
These companies were asking for money from the federal treasury or some other form of special treatment, which Pompeo referred to as crony capitalism.
Pompeo said he’s urged to compromise, to go along and get along. But he described how compromise has worked in Congress over the past 60 years, no matter which party is in charge of Congress or the presidency, and no matter the combination: “Congressman ‘A’ needed a bridge in his district, Congressmen ‘B’ wanted a flood control project in hers, and the president wanted more money for education. And the compromise was ‘Let’s do all three.’”
The compromise for 60 years has been not to meet in the middle, but to increase spending. The real party of interest — people whose money is being spent — wasn’t in the room.
Later, he explained the difficulty that elected officials face. Citing his proposed legislation to end federal tax credits for all forms of energy production, Pompeo said that the beneficiaries of these credits will come to his office and point out jobs created by — for example — a wind power equipment plant in Hutchinson. These people working are easy to see. They’re concentrated in one place at one company.
But the costs of these credits and programs are being borne elsewhere, he said, and their effects are difficult to see.